The emergency room is often how people enter the hospital. Something is wrong, so they go to the emergency room, where they may be treated and released or may be admitted to the hospital. But, if your problem isn’t life threatening, you may wait for hours in the ER.
If you need hospital treatment for an ongoing condition, such as congestive heart failure or diabetes, but don’t need emergency care, call your doctor. You can work with your doctor to be admitted to the hospital directly, thereby avoiding the long wait in the ER and potentially saving time and money.
As obvious as it may sound, the ER is designed for emergencies. Every patient is evaluated and cared for in the order of urgency and severity. If your ongoing problem isn’t life threatening, you could be waiting a long time for attention.
If you have a doctor who regularly sees you for your healthcare needs, it’s much better to have that doctor determine what you need and when you should be hospitalized because they know your medical history.
The way to avoid wasting time in the emergency room is to talk to your doctor ahead of time.
Ask your doctor:
- What hospital does your doctor use?
- Does that hospital have a direct admit policy?
- If your doctor thinks you should be in the hospital, will he or she write an order to have you directly admitted to a room?
- What days of the week and times of day does the hospital accept direct admissions?
Having this discussion with your doctor in advance will save you the time and expense of having to sit in the emergency room for hours waiting to be admitted to the hospital.
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